By The Sports Xchange
Iowa’s injury-riddled running back position was buoyed by the performance of freshmen Ivory Kelly-Martin and Toren Young in a 31-14 win Saturday over North Texas at Iowa City, Iowa.
Two of the Hawkeyes’ top running backs — James Butler and Akrum Wadley — were injured in the game and did not return. Butler led the Hawkeyes (3-0) with 74 yards on 16 carries before he went down with an apparent right knee injury in the third quarter.
Wadley appeared to have an ankle injury and was held out since early in the second quarter. He went into the locker room before halftime.
Kelly-Martin and Young picked up the slack in their absence. Kelly-Martin, a true freshman, gained 74 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns and Young, a redshirt freshman, had a team-high 19 carries for 78 yards.
Iowa outgained North Texas (1-2) on the ground 238-112.
A steady performance by Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley and the Hawkeyes’ effective defense allowed Iowa to pull away after they trailed 7-0 late in the first quarter and 14-10 at halftime.
Stanley completed 16 of 27 pass attempts for 197 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He led Iowa to a third-down conversion rate of 11 of 18 while the Hawkeyes’ defense shut down North Texas to the tune of 0 of 6 in that category.
North Texas running back Jeffery Wilson gained 95 yards on 12 carries, including a 41-yard touchdown that gave the Mean Green a 7-0 lead with 5:34 left in the first quarter.
A 13-yard touchdown pass from North Texas quarterback Quinn Shanbour to Jalen Guyton gave the Mean Green a 14-10 lead at halftime.
Iowa’s offense grinded down a beleaguered North Texas defense in the second half, scoring touchdowns following drives of 14, 16 and 10 plays.
Stanley’s 23-yard scoring strike to Noah Fant put Iowa up 17-14 with 4:24 left in the third quarter.
Kelly-Martin capped the scoring with two touchdown runs, from 2 and 6 yards, in the fourth quarter.